England hopes shot down by Dutch
PUBLISHED: 19:27 24 June 2017 | UPDATED: 19:27 24 June 2017
England 0 Netherlands 2
England’s men were narrowly defeated in a tight contest with the Netherlands in their Hero Hockey World League semi-final in London.
Goals from Mirco Pruijser and Bjorn Kellerman either side of the final break saw the Dutch pull ahead and although England battled to the end with a late rally of pressure, the Netherlands defence held firm.
The hosts will now face Malaysia in the bronze medal match on Sunday and a win will secure their place at the Hockey World League Finals in India.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands will face Argentina in the final after beating Malaysia 2-1 in the day’s other semi-final.
Within minutes of the start England had already had an effort on target, as the ball looped into the Dutch area where Barry Middleton volleyed towards goal, but the goalkeeper was quickly off his line to smother the England man’s effort.
The game settled down soon after this with both sides largely cancelling each other out before the Dutch enjoyed a strong end to the quarter.
George Pinner produced a fine double save before a fine defensive clearance from Sam Ward kept the game goalless at the first break.
The Netherlands began to take control of the contest early in the second quarter, as they increased the pressure on the England defence but found Pinner on top form.
Two Mink Van der Weerden penalty corners were dealt with in style, firstly with a diving stick stop before Pinner palmed away a high effort with his glove.
England responded, though, and twice went close before half-time as Phil Roper began to cause problems, firstly releasing Hampstead & Westminster’s Harry Martin whose shot was saved and then creating an effort of his own which flew just wide.
Little changed after the break as both sides again continued to be equal in all departments.
But the Netherlands ended the quarter strongly and Pinner twice made stops before 30 seconds before the final interval Pruijser’s deflection found the backboard.
The Dutch were quick to extend their lead in the final quarter, as an exchange of passes at the top of the circle saw the ball sit up for Bjorn Kellerman who hammered his shot past Pinner.
England battled hard to find a way back into the contest and kept constant pressure on the Dutch until the very end but couldn’t find a way past a steely defence.
England: George Pinner, David Ames, Henry Weir, Ian Sloan, Michael Hoare, Mark Gleghorne, Phil Roper, Barry Middleton, Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, Liam Sanford, Ollie Willars, Harry Martin, Sam Ward, Adam Dixon, David Condon, Chris Griffiths. Unused sub: Harry Gibson (GK).